Johnson will leave UA hoops programby Steve Rivera on Apr. 30, 2009, under Sports
Citizen Staff Writer
The player who was to be Arizona’s designated 3-point shooter won’t even be in a Wildcat basketball uniform next season.
Sophomore Zane Johnson has decided to leave the program.
“We wish Zane only the best of luck,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller in a news release Wednesday. “He felt that opportunities would be better for him elsewhere.”
Where Johnson will go is anyone’s guess. He could not be reached for comment. His high school coach, Buddy Rake didn’t return messages.
After UA lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16 last month, Johnson said he was looking forward to being a team leader, being that he’d be one of only two juniors, along with Jamelle Horne, on the team.
“We talked about it,” Johnson said then, of what next season would be like. “It will be interesting. We might even have a bunch of walk-ons. But we’ll be ready to play. When the new coach comes in we’ll play hard for him.”
Johnson, a former Phoenix Thunderbird High School star, averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebound and 0.9 assists per game last season for UA.
Johnson played in 33 games, starting 13. He had a career-high 17 points against Loyola Marymount.
Last season, he hit 39.6 percent of his 3-pointers and 43.1 percent of his shots overall.
As a freshman, he was suddenly pulled out of his redshirt season at midyear when then-UA guard Jerryd Bayless was injured.
Juniors Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger have declared for the NBA and will not return next year to UA. Junior guard Nic Wise has decided to test the NBA waters to gauge if he is a first-round pick. UA has signed only two players from the spring’s recruiting class, making seven total players on scholarship.